Growing up without money was frustrating. I always wanted the the coolest shoes. The Air Jordans were the shoe of choice. But the price tag was always a little too much for my moms budget. I do remember getting the Air Jordan I when I was in the seventh grade. I wore them down till there was a hole in the bottom of my sole.
I remember this one time in junior high when I had no shoes because I just burned the sole’s off of them. So my uncle gave me a pair of white high top Pumas that were a size 13. At this time in my life I was only a size 10 or 11. So you can only imagine the over hang that was happening to me with these shoes. I probably looked like a clown.
There is a specific time I remember when I took the bus home from school. Because I went to school on the other side of town I had to take the local transit system. We always picked up kids from the high school on this route. On this day I had to sit in the back with all the young people from this school. Well there is always someone on the bus who likes to make fun of people. On this day it was my turn to be picked on. This guy and his friends talked so bad about my shoes and how big they were on my feet that they brought me to tears. All I could do was cross my feet and try to hide them as they had everyone on the bus laughing at me. Even the older people were laughing.
I remember getting off that bus thinking that I was poorest kid in the world. This experience fueled my shoe habit as an adult. I never wanted to be without a new pair of kicks. I would spend my last dollar on a pair of fresh Nike’s.
I still remember the guy who talked about me that day on the bus too. I always kept thinking that one day I am going to catch up to him and turn the tables. That I was going to show him that his jokes and how cruel he was to me was not going to stop me from getting ahead in life. That experience fueled my anger for a long time.
I realize that I did not need to look at that situation like that. That I did not have to prove anything to him or anyone else. For the longest my thinking was that one day I will show them all. I will show all of those that made fun of me growing up that I made it and did not need them to succeed.
But thinking like that has really only held me back. Thinking that I had to prove to someone that I was good enough has kept me from growing. It made me believe that one day I would be a great photographer like this person or that person. But I already am a great photographer. I know it and believe it.
In my previous way of thinking I use to photograph my shoes with all kinds of lights. I would use 3 to 4 lights to photograph a pair of my shoes. It would become this big huge production of equipment and time. My thinking was still that I had something to prove to someone else. That I knew what I was doing.
In all of the photographs that you see here in this story I only used one light. That’s right, one light. I simplified my thinking. I did not have to prove anything to anyone. I only have to prove to myself that I can do it. That my life only needs one light to shine bright and illuminate my shoes.
Don’t worry about what others think about you. Take your light and make it shine bright and overpower their darkness. It is in you! Shine bright.